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Trading down and the business cycle

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The authors document two facts: First, during recessions consumers trade down in the quality of the goods and services they consume. Second, the production of low-quality goods is less labor intensive than that of high-quality goods. Therefore, when households trade down, labor demand falls, increasing the severity of recessions. The authors find that the trading-down phenomenon accounts for a substantial fraction of the fall in U.S. employment in the recent recession. They study two business cycle models that embed quality choice and find that the presence of quality choice magnifies the response of these economies to real and monetary shocks.

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File URL: https://www.frbatlanta.org/-/media/Documents/cqer/publications/workingpapers/2015/05.pdf?la=en
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series FRB Atlanta CQER Working Paper with number 2015-5.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2015
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedacq:15-05
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  1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 1998. "The business cycle: it's still a puzzle," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 56-83.
  2. Abel, Andrew B, 1990. "Asset Prices under Habit Formation and Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 38-42, May.
  3. Aviv Nevo & Arlene Wong, 2015. "The Elasticity of Substitution Between Time and Market Goods: Evidence from the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 21318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robert Shimer, 2009. "Convergence in Macroeconomics: The Labor Wedge," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 280-297, January.
  5. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Michael Weber, 2016. "Are Sticky Prices Costly? Evidence from the Stock Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(1), pages 165-199, January.
  6. repec:pri:cepsud:234kaplan is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2013. "Time Use during the Great Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1664-1696, August.
  8. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1.
  9. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2008. "Five Facts about Prices: A Reevaluation of Menu Cost Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1415-1464.
  10. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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